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Abstract

This paper presents a simple argument: through a Dworkinian moral reading of the Constitution, nonhuman animals fall under the Supreme Court’s equal protection doctrinal framework for suspect classification. Therefore, nonhuman animals are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The moral principle underlying equal protection is the ensuring of government’s empathetic and equitable treatment toward not just subgroups of humans (which have been judicially delineated by social constructs of race, gender, sexuality, and other defining characteristics), but toward all sentient beings who may become victim to the “tyranny of the majority.